For young entrepreneurs and students, the various panel discussions at the Future of MP: Startup Conclave in Bhopal offered a broad range of valuable lessons for ensuring a successful startup journey. Many budding entrepreneurs heard first-hand the triumphs and challenges of going it alone, in addition to lessons around the importance of big ideas, long-term strategy, and work-life balance.
Organised by the Government of Madhya Pradesh, the event on Saturday saw the active participation of government officials, private investors, and successful entrepreneurs as panellists at the startup conclave. At the event, Priya Singh, wife of Mohit Dubey, Founder, CarWale and Chalo, urged all fellow panellists and successful entrepreneurs from Madhya Pradesh to support the budding startups of MP by contributing to the Government's Venture Capital Fund or float a fund of their own.
Panellists at the 'Future of MP: Startup Conclave' in Bhopal, organised by the Government of Madhya Pradesh and hosted by B-NeST Incubation Centre on the Smart City Development Corporation premises.
Hosted by B-NeST Incubation Centre at the Smart City Development Corporation premises, the first panel at the conclave was aptly titled ‘Secret Sauce of Success,’ which saw the participation of successful businessmen and founders. Through this panel, the house full of students, incubates, and young entrepreneurs received important tips on entrepreneurship, including Netlink founder and CEO Anurag Shrivastava's advice on striving for a balanced life.
“We have created a task-oriented working style in our company where we give priority to employee health. We organise yoga sessions, cycles are available on our campus and we organise health check-ups from time to time,” Shrivastava added.
Idea - your startup’s soul
At the many sessions at the event, the panellists were united in highlighting the need for an innovative idea for any startup to succeed. “If there’s a good idea, funding is available in abundance,” Pratap Snacks founder Amit Kumar Kamath said, adding that a good idea serves as the true champion of a startup.
Equally important for a venture to succeed is 'focus', said Mohit Dubey, founder of Carwale and Chalo. “Every idea comes down to your willingness to give your life for that idea. It doesn’t matter how many other people are doing business in the same space. It’s about your focus and your will to walk the entire mile,” he said.
And yet, Flyrobe founder Shreya Mishra stressed the importance of execution, urging entrepreneurs to quit worrying about having their idea stolen. “If your execution is strong, nobody can really steal your idea,” she said. The session was moderated by Anurag Jain and Pankaj Agrawal, Principal Secretaries to the Government of Madhya Pradesh.
YourStory founder Shradha Sharma, who moderated the session themed ‘Accelerating the Economy by Enabling Innovation,’ asked the youth of Bhopal to appreciate their own grit and energy.
Startups key to GDP growth
Speaking at the event, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said the government intends to take the GDP growth to 10 percent per annum, a feat that wouldn’t be possible without startups. “Today, I see people willing to start up instead of searching for jobs after they finish education. We have 20,000 startups out of which 4,500 are technology startups. There are 1,100 multinational centres that have brought their R&D centres in India, giving jobs to 80,000 people. GE is now creating machines in India. All these changes are happening because the world is noticing our young talent,” Kant added.
Kant also emphasised the importance of building a culture of innovation early on. “The culture of entrepreneurship must begin at a young stage. We have started Atal Tinkering Labs in 25,000 schools for students of Class IX onwards. Children can now interact with AI, robots, IoT in these labs. We want them to become innovators of the next generation,” he said.
He advised the founders to start up as soon as they get a good idea. “Mentoring is important. But startups need to think that the whole world is their market in terms of size and scale. Don’t be scared of failures – there’s no successful startup that has never failed once or twice,” he said.
Think big and long term
Impetus Technologies founder and CEO Praveen Kankariya called young entrepreneurs to expand their thinking. “With Impetus, I wasn’t happy with working for small American companies. I wanted to work with Fortune 100 companies. Today, we work for 30 Fortune 100 companies and our prices are higher than Infosys and Cognizant,” he said.
RT Global Infosolutions founder and CEO Rahul Gupta shared, “There’s so much excitement involved with each startup. That’s why I like to invest in startups. Innovation is a way of life. Harvard Business Review recently reported that every year 30 percent of top 100 companies are new companies. This means if you have a long-term approach, you can succeed.”
In ‘Ease of Starting Up’ session moderated by Mohammed Suleman and Vivek Aggarwal, Principal Secretaries to the Government of Madhya Pradesh, Deloitte Digital Partner Neeraj Arora enumerated the needs that early startups have. “Our incubates should get access to market. For instance, an agro tech startup must have tie-ups with agro products. They need access to specific technology platforms. Today, the world is heading towards IoT, machine learning and AI. We must too,” he said. The session was also addressed by L&T Strategy Head (Transformation and Initiatives) Purushottam Kaushik and Himanshu Rattan, Director, KPMG (Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare).
During the ‘Pitch and Hitch’ session, three investors provided tips on how to prepare pitches for investments. The speakers at this session included Beehive Capital Advisors Partner Bhushan Gajaria, RT Global Infosolutions founder Rahul Gupta, and Amplify Asia founder Sudarshan Narayan.
A few selected startups also got the opportunity to present a seven-minute pitch to the investors at the conclave.